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Pay TV penetration continues to drop in the US

The penetration of pay TV in the US has dropped down to 75%.

According to new research from Leichtman Research Group (LRG), this is a drop down from 84% in 2014 and 87% in 2009. 

Mean spend in the country among subscribers is US$109.60 which despite the negative growth, is actually an increase of about 6% since 2016 the report says. Including non-subscribers, mean spending on pay-TV across all households is about US$80 per month, a figure that is slightly lower than the per household spending in 2015.

The study is made up of a survey of 1,115 households in the country and is the seventeenth such study of the topic carried out by LRG.

The study also found that 60% of pay TV subscribers have a bundle of services from a provider, down from 67% in 2014, and that 87% of households with three or more TVs have a pay TV service, compared to 75% with two TVs and only 52% with one set. 

The generational divide is also very evident from the research. Of adults aged over 45, 83% have a pay TV service, compared to 64% for ages 18-44. 

Elsewhere, the report adds that this is the first year since 2010 where set top boxes have been connected to less than half of all American TVs with only 47% of users saying they have a pay TV provider’s set top box. 

In addition, 54% of TV households have both a pay TV service and an SVOD service, 21% only have a pay TV service, 20% only have an SVOD service, and about 5% have neither pay TV nor SVOD.

Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group said: “Three-quarters of households that use a TV currently subscribe to a pay-TV service. This is similar to the total receiving an SVOD service. With more options for watching live and on-Demand video, consumers are increasingly choosing to cobble together the services that meet the viewing and economic needs of their household.”

This decline in the US stands in stark contrast to a recent report which highlighted things going in the opposite direction in Russia.

According to the report from the European Audiovisual Observatory, there was a 3.1% increase of pay TV subscribers in the country between 2017 and 2018. That said, pay TV penetration is still lower in Russia at 62-63%.